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Publisher: HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,
Summary: Avalon Greene and Halley Brandon have been inseparable since the day they met in Kindergarten. They are known as Havalon, the style mavens of Seaview Middle School. Halley has just returned from Art Camp, and while she was gone, Avalon was planning a huge party to celebrate their friendship. Now they can't seem to agree on anything. Exactly which direction is their friendship going? This is a chick-lit novel about two girls whose individual interests are impacting their friendship.
Type of Reading: independent reading, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 12 and up; read yourself: 12 and up
Young Reader Reaction: Frenemies is a great book for young and teenage girls. It has a lot to do with fashion, cheerleading, boys, and middle school drama, so it would appeal to most girls. Since Avalon and Halley are in middle school, middle school girls might be able to relate better. This would be a great gift for a girl for any occasion. It would be a great book to do a project on for school because so much happens that there is a lot to write about. I really liked how each chapter switched from one girl’s life to the other. The chapters are short, so I can stop after only a few pages and be done with a chapter. Halley and Avalon’s fashion column posts every few chapters, complete with comments from other kids at their school, adds to the story's events. As far as things I didn’t like go, I pretty much enjoyed this book overall and wouldn’t change anything about it. I definitely recommend it!
Adult Reader Reaction: Thanks to lots of clever, sharp language, this book moves fast. The author has a phenomenal grasp of modern English and how kids use it. Her writing is incredibly witty. Unfortunately, her phrases sometimes have a biting edge, and they accentuate an elitist-teen persona in the characters. There was so much emphasis in the plot about brands and details (even the crystal orange juice glasses) that the characters became caricatures.
Pros: This fast-moving novel offers kids a mirror-image of the worlds they see on TV.
Cons: This is a book that will have kids picking sides, judging others, and finding new ways to call people names. This is the first title in the series, so we still have more to learn about the girls.
Borrow or Buy: Skip. There are some great novels out there that address many of the same dynamics we see with Halley and Avalon, but they break down the elite teen scene.
Educational Themes: This is a novel meant for recreational reading. It will reinforce the stereotypes that the broader media portray. Still, it may be valuable as a book-club read for middle-school and high school girls, particularly if there is an adult reader who can draw out discussions about choices and consequences, privacy, setting limits, judging others, and self-esteem, among others.
Notes: The Reading Tub, Inc. received an advanced reader copy for review.
Literary Categories: Fiction - Young adult, friendship, coming of age